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Does “love” really have no labels? So does it matter how we define “love”? Does this mean gender, race, religion, age, etc., don’t matter at all? Does “love” = “sex” or include “sex” in some of these statements? If so, does “love” really have “no age” either? Does “love” have no number? Does “love” have no species? Is a same-sex family really “no different than any other family”? And how does one come to all these conclusions–feelings? Anatomy? Popular opinion? If someone’s “religion” disagrees with these conclusions are they and their religion therefore UN-loving? Oh, and if a person agreed that love is the most wonderful thing of all, and that people of every color, gender, religion, nationality, etc., should absolutely love one another, would he or she be UN-loving if he or she believed some sexual choices are sinful? And would it be loving to affirm all sexual choices as equally valid if some of those choices were dangerous or unhealthy? If love has no religion, but all major religions agreed that some sexual choices are sinful, does that mean all major religions are UN-loving? Does it mean “love” can only be found and achieved apart from religion? Or only within religions that don’t “judge” anything as sin (except judging)? Just wondering.

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A friend sent me an email with this link and these comments:

http://www.kansascity.com/2013/09/19/4494140/ku-rebukes-journalism-professor.html#storylink=cpy

“While I agree that the statements made were offensive, I thought Ann Brill’s comment was a unique one. While the First Amendment allows anyone to express an opinion, Brill said, ‘that privilege is not absolute and must be balanced with the rights of others.’”

My reply:

I think its interesting too and I think I know what you mean. I don’t agree with Brill and I don’t think this is even a First Amendment issue. The comment about “civil discourse” is probably more to the point. Guth has the freedom to say whatever he wants, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t/can’t be fired for saying it. First Amendment just says we can’t/shouldn’t throw him in jail for saying it.

BTW: Guns don’t kill people; gun-control laws kill people.

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Pastor Appreciation

My new friend Matt Pool stars in this fun short film. He didn’t even know me when he made it—but I pretended it was all about me so I enjoyed it a lot and wanted to share it.

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Ramirez0608

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Thirteenth Strophe—Psalm 119:97-104

97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. 98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. 99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. 100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. 101 I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. 102 I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. 103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.

Which comes first—the “love” or the “insight”?

The Psalmist wrote, “O, how I love Your law!” But why? Was it just because it was God’s and the simple fact that God gave it made it lovable? Or did he love God’s law because of the wisdom and insight and understanding he gained from “meditating” on it?

It doesn’t matter. If you love it, you’ll meditate on it and reap great benefits. But, if you meditate on it (whether or not you really love it at first), you’ll begin to reap great benefits which will lead you to love and appreciate the treasure God has given us in His “commands” and “statutes” and “precepts.” Either way, you’ll experience great benefits!

And don’t miss that fact: most of this strophe is a list of benefits. God’s Word makes us wiser than our enemies (v.98), gives us more insight than our teachers (v.99), and gives us more understanding than our elders (v.100). This seems like backward thinking when it comes to “teachers” and “elders”. “Enemies” can be either smart or dumb, but teachers and elders should be smarter; should have greater understanding. And, they will if they know God’s Word and trust it completely. But, if they neglect it or discard it, their “thinking becomes futile”, Paul tells us in Romans 1.

C. S. Lewis wrote, “Put first things first and we get second things thrown in; put second things first and we lose both first and second things.” In other words, if we put God’s Word first, we will become more and more wise in every area of life. If we reject it or neglect it, our education and experience will be tainted by false ideas and will eventually become futile.

It’s like hiking in a new forest. If you have a map or a compass, you’ll have the guidance you need. But, if you don’t have that guidance, you will soon take a wrong path and get lost—no matter how smart you are. You probably won’t even know it’s a wrong path until it’s too late. But, the Psalmist—the guy who meditated on God’s law all day long—could spot a wrong path in life. He said, “I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.”

Do you “love God’s law”? Do you “meditate on it all day long” (a lot)? The benefits might really surprise you.

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Want to hear my favorite Bill Clinton quote (that I can recall)? It’s at the very end of this amazing video that clearly reveals why the economy is in the shape it is in. Watch if you dare.

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Psalm 119: Gimel

Third Strophe—Psalm 119:17-24

17 Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word. 18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. 19 I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me. 20 My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times. 21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed and who stray from your commands. 22 Remove from me scorn and contempt, for I keep your statutes. 23 Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees. 24 Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.

Twice in gimel, the writer calls himself “your (God’s) servant” (vv. 17, 23), noting that God “rebukes the arrogant” (v.21). The Bible does not paint a pretty picture for the proud: “Pride goes before destruction,” the writer of Proverbs tells us in 16:18, and “a haughty spirit before a fall.”

But the story is very different for the humble. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2). Pride bad. Humility good. Why is that? Because—as noted earlier—God “rebukes” pride. Pride is one of the seven things God “hates” according to Proverbs 6:16-17. When God “hates” something—when He “rebukes” something—you can be sure that means it will bring only trouble. He “rebukes” for our good!

The prideful don’t treat people well. They don’t value the right things. They don’t worship the right God. But the humble—they get it. They understand that God wants them to treat other people as valuable (Philippians 2:3). They understand that God values the inside of a person—not the outside (1 Samuel 16:7). They know that God is the only One who deserves worship (Isaiah 57:15).

With humility comes wisdom and peace and happiness. With humility comes better relationships. Better use of life. A better relationship with God.

So, how do you get humble? Don’t “stray from (His) commands” (v.21). “Obey” God’s Word and “meditate on” (v.23) God’s Word and “delight in” (v.24) God’s Word.

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